“We're Shutting That Down” - How Apple Are Tackling Web Tracking With Their Latest Update

“We're Shutting That Down” - How Apple Are Tackling Web Tracking With Their Latest Update

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It comes as no surprise to us now but for a number of years now Facebook have been collecting our data, through a variety of different means, with the ‘Like’ button sneakily acting as their biggest data collector. Practically every website that wants or needs traffic has to have a ‘Like’ button, which means they’re pretty much everywhere. 

With users recently becoming more and more aware of how much Facebook is tracking and using our data, Apple has taken a direct shot at Facebook and the overall tracking system. 

At Apple’s recent conference WWDC, their VP of software, Craig Federighi directly addressed this, saying;

“We’ve all seen these like buttons and share buttons,” Federighi told the crowd. “Well it turns out, these can be used to track you, whether you click on them or not. So this year, we’re shutting that down.”

In order to tackle web tracking through Facebook Like buttons, Safari browsers will now ask users permission before they allow Facebook to monitor their activity. When arriving on a webpage that features a Facebook ‘Like’ button, a pop up will appear asking: "Do you want to allow 'facebook.com' to use cookies and website data while browsing [this site]? This will allow 'facebook.com' to track your activity.” Which users can choose to allow or not allow. 

While this move is likely to add tension between Facebook and Apple, this move is seen as Apple trying to help enable greater privacy online. 

In technical terms, the change is linked to how Safari loads content, as well as how much information Safari gives to websites, not offering your login token to sites until approval has been given. 

Overall it’s hard to tell what this means for Facebook in the long run, but given that the data collected through ‘Likes’ results in revenue for Facebook it’s likely that this will cause some impact on the social media giant and after months of scrutiny over privacy concerns and data collection, another jab, especially from Apple has to cause some kind of difference. 


Categories: Apple